3 Tab vs Architectural Shingles – Which Are the Better Investment?

Roofing companies have used asphalt shingles on roofs for more than a century at this point.

Since they were first invented, roofing shingles have been through many incarnations, advancing and becoming more durable and protective each time.

Though the classic, flat 3 tab shingles are still available, roofing services more commonly apply architectural shingles.

They cost more, but once homeowners understand the difference between the two, they can usually see how the more expensive architectural type of asphalt shingles are usually the more cost-effective product.

What Are The Differences?

The main difference between standard 3 tab asphalt shingles installed by roofing services and modern architectural shingles is that the former is completely flat and much thinner than the latter.

Also called dimensional shingles for the fact that they are 3-dimensional with some thickness and shape to the exposed side of the shingle, this makes architectural shingles also much more durable and protective than the flat, 3 tab version.

The Benefits of Architectural Shingles

These roofing shingles are longer-lasting, with lifespans of up to 50 years, are less likely to lift and lose their water tightness, and are much more attractive as well.

Architectural dimensional shingles can be purchased today in multiple colors, thicknesses, and shapes as well, giving homeowners many options for an attractive and protective roof that will last decades.

According to roofing companies, the main drawback with them is that they are somewhat more expensive than 3 tab shingles, which are usually the least-expensive shingle option available.

Comparing 3 Tab and Architectural Shingles

3 tab shingles are also protective, but for a shorter lifespan, usually 15 to 20 years at the most.

They do lie flat on a surface, making them a great option for high-wind areas, but they can curl and bend, lifting up off the roofing while architectural shingles resist that due to their thickness.

3 tab shingles are also somewhat less expensive than dimensional shingles and can make the perfect installation for a shed, detached garage or other building, but roofing companies do need to replace them more often.

Flat 3 tab shingles are also nowhere near as durable as their more advanced architectural shingle cousins.

What Does All This Mean?

The takeaway here should be obvious.

Although 3 tab shingles are still useful for roofing in certain circumstances, homeowners get a lot more for their money by paying a little more for thicker, stronger, and more durable architectural shingles.

With some products including a lifetime 50+ year guarantee, that can amount to two to three times the lifespan of standard flat 3 tab shingles.

Considering how appealing dimensional architectural shingles installed by roofing services can look, it only makes sense to choose the better product to ensure better service and better looks!